Evacuated residents return home, crews work overnight after Marengo building explosion

Crews have been working through the night after a building explosion in Marengo.
Published: Dec. 9, 2022 at 6:50 AM CST
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MARENGO, Iowa (KCRG) - Crews have been working through the night after a building explosion in Marengo.

The explosion happened around 11:15 a.m. at a biodiesel plant operated by C6-Zero, located near the Iowa County Fairgrounds. The company converts roof shingles into biodiesel and other products. Flames could be seen coming from the top of the building.

At least 30 people were inside at the time of the explosion, and at least 10 were injured. No one was killed.

Homes in the immediate area were evacuated, but that evacuation order was dropped about eight hours later.

Officials have still not determined what caused the explosion.

Fire departments, law enforcement, and first responders from across the area came to help put out the fire.

Kimberly Barnes was at work when she learned of the explosion. She was among the people evacuated. She said she wasn’t sure if she’d be able to return home Thursday night.

“I have family members that need meds, so I really just even if I can get in the house long enough to grab a duffle bag,” Barnes said.

Iowa State Patrol Trooper Bob Conrad said the precautions are for safety reasons because the plant makes biofuels.

“We evacuated several different areas and houses around us due to wind concerns, chemical concerns, and the fire,” Conrad said. “They were working with biofuels in that type of situation, so obviously they were built was our concern has made different types of chemicals that would be in the building that we knew about prepare for some that we don’t know about.”

Barnes and her family were allowed to return to their home at around 7:30 p.m. She said she is grateful her family is safe and all the surrounding communities have stepped up to help.

“Big thing is just pull together, watch out for your neighbors, that’s all you really can do,” she said.

At least 10 people were taken to the University of Iowa Hospitals to be treated. Only one person was reported as being severely injured. UIHC said most of the people had “mild” or “moderate” injuries.